“…produce fruit that proves your repentance.”
How would you respond if they next time you showed up church the pastor said, “Prove it!” Prove that you believe by the way you live.” In essence this is what John the Baptist did. His statement wasn't seeker sensitive!
Here’s some context. In this passage John the Baptist is receiving people who are publicly confessing their sins and then going into the water to be baptized (publicly washed). This act of being baptized was their way of letting God, their family, and their neighbors know that they were no longer going to continue living / acting / thinking in a specific way. They were being baptized to repent, or turning from, a specific lifestyle and turning towards God and his way of doing life.
As John is baptizing he looks up and he sees the religious elite. Some serious church folk have come to see his ministry. How does he welcome them? “You offspring of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? Therefore produce fruit that proves your repentance, and don’t think you can say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I tell you that God can raise up children for Abraham from these stones!”
You probably wouldn’t want to put John the Baptist over your First Impressions Ministry. But, I really like John the Baptist. He’s my type of guy.
Why do us church people think our behavior doesn’t matter? John the Baptist might say to us, "You say your a Christian, prove it! Be the salt. Be the light.”
I’m not preaching a “Saved by Works” type of Gospel. I’m preaching a “I’m Saved So I Do What Jesus Said” type of Gospel. Seriously, you say you're saved. You say you confess Jesus as you Savior and Lord. Great, may we all “produce fruit that proves our repentance.”
Pastor Matt, you’re being too hard. Nope! I’m pointing you to the bar set by Jesus. Let me give you just two quotes from our Leader:
- “If you love me, you will obey my commandments.” - Jesus, John 14:15
- “My Father is honored by this, that you bear much fruit and show that you are my disciples.” - Jesus, John 15:8
Just take those two quotes and ask, “What is Jesus saying to me?”
May we be a people who live for Jesus. May we be a people who produce fruit. May we be a people who loves Jesus. When we live like this we honor God! How great is that?